You will find personalized and comprehensive care for abnormal heart rhythms, called arrhythmias, at Carolinas HealthCare System’s Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute. Highly skilled, board-certified cardiac physicians develop treatment plans for your needs. The comprehensive team consists of clinical cardiac electrophysiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, cardiac imagers, cardiac anesthesiologists, sleep medicine specialists, and anticoagulation specialists centered on personalizing your care.

Types of Arrhythmia

Your heartbeat is regulated by electrical signals controlled by nerves in the heart. For an adult at rest, the heart should beat 60 to 100 times per minute. When the heart beats less than 60 beat per minute, it's known as a bradycardia; when it beats faster than 100 beats per minute, it's known as a tachycardia. While a normal heart can be slow or fast at times, arrhythmias represent times when a heart is abnormally fast, slow or irregular. Arrhythmias can also occur as irregular single heartbeats like extra beats or skipped beats.

Symptoms of Arrhythmia

Sometimes arrhythmias have no symptoms. You may notice a change in your heart rate, a flutter or pain in your chest, or feel lightheaded, dizzy, faint or short of breath. Arrhythmias can signal the beginning of a heart attack, or can result from heart disease, high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), diabetes, a thyroid condition, too much caffeine or alcohol, energy drinks, medications, drug use, stress or environmental factors. Many arrhythmias aren't harmful and don't need treatment or can be controlled with medications. However, some arrhythmias can lead to sudden cardiac arrest or stroke. Someone with atrial fibrillation (the most common type of irregular heartbeat) is nearly five times more likely to have a stroke. It is important to understand your diagnosis and risk factors.

Treatment Options for Arrhythmia

There are many treatment options for arrhythmia, including atrial fibrillation, the most common arrhythmia in adults:

  • Catheter-based ablation, in which a wire is inserted through a vein in the leg and into the heart to disrupt the faulty electrical signals, including radiofrequency (heating) or cryo (cooling) ablation
  • Surgical ablation and minimally invasive surgical ablation, in which special instruments create scar lines on the surface of the heart that redirect the irregular electrical impulses
  • Specialized medication (antiarrhythmic medications)
  • Implantation of cardiac pacing devices (pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators ) to restore and maintain regular heart rhythm
  • Complex laser and mechanical lead and device extraction
  • Subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator (S-ICD), the first heart defibrillator implanted under the skin instead of being directly connected into the heart

Care After Surgery

If you require surgery to implant pacing devices, our cardiac device clinics will help you maintain an independent lifestyle and reduce the amount of traveling to and from office visits. With 12 locations, you’re bound to find a device clinic near you. Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute's clinical team will check your device’s battery, evaluate the function of the leads going into the heart, evaluate rhythm abnormalities, and adjust the programming as needed as well as deliver information about your heart to your care team.

These innovative devices also offer remote monitoring, so physicians and medical staff can offer care in real time without your presence in the office. Your device monitors your heart rhythm and the technical function of your device daily and will alert you or your team to problems, should they occur. Your heart rhythm team will use this information to deliver your care in real time.

To keep you connected with others, support groups meetings are offered in the Charlotte and Shelby areas and open to all patients with a cardiac device and their families. To learn more or to RSVP, call: 704-482-1006.

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Meet our team

For more information, or to schedule an Appointment

CALL 877-999-7484